From senior to sophomore: Students get college jump

Published 10:41 am Thursday, January 8, 2009

PROCTORVILLE — It looks like it will be a juggling act for a while but Ryan Evans is focusing on a plan that can jumpstart his college career.

Still a senior at Fairland High School, Evans, 17, started this Winter Quarter taking his first college classes at Ohio University Proctorville, all through the benefit of a new initiative called Seniors to Sophomores.

The program was announced last year by Gov. Ted Strickland in his 2008 State of the State address. At that time Strickland said the goal was “to raise the aspirations of all students, to challenge students who might feel disengaged from their high school studies and to help students who want to accelerate their college education.”

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The program features dual enrollment where seniors can be students at both their high school and on a college campus that is in the University System of Ohio. They have a chance to earn a year’s worth of high school and college credit simultaneously.

At the time of Strickland’s speech back in February of last year, Chancellor of Higher Education Eric Fingerhut said two funding streams from K-12 and higher education would finance the initiative that offers the college classes at no charge to the students.

Evans first heard about the program at a recent seminar and decided to take the plunge, signing up for twice weekly classes in philosophy and psychology and a Saturday computer class. That goes on top of his regular high school classes, plus a 30-hour work schedule at Max and Erma’s restaurant and Hollister retail store.

Monday was Evans’ first taste of college classroom life and so far so good.

“The teacher is really nice. He didn’t sugarcoat anything. He told us it would be hard and the chances of getting A … if you don’t get an A, don’t cry about it,” Evans said. “It is nice he puts it all out there.”

Evans’ goal is to earn a doctorate in physical therapy and an undergraduate minor in business. While he works on his doctorate, Evans expects to manage a business.

“I’d like to be a physical therapist for a sports team and then go from there,” he said. “I would like to go to the NFL but that is way up there.”

A former talented and gifted student at Fairland Middle, Evans sees the college program as a way to reach his goals quicker.

“It gives me a head start on everybody. I could possibly go into the fall quarter as a sophomore,” he said. “I want to take as many hours as I can in spring time and go into summer. The faster I get through, the faster I can get everything paid off.”